Several of our Digital Media and Interaction Design and Sound Design students took part in the Global Game Jam at Edinburgh Napier University in January 24. David Richards (Year 4 Digital Media and Interaction Design ) used his illustration skills to help bring two of the games created to life.
He says “It was a brilliant experience! It was so refreshing being able to collaborate with other people with the same passion for video games.” David collaborated on the two games seen here- creating characters and landscape art for “Moonbear Typing” and creating the title screen for “Ye Olde Funnybone”.
For his honours project, Johnny Viola investigated the use of motion graphics to increase engagement with history. The visuals used updated versions of colours and styles found in paintings of the period, giving the animation a rich texture that adds to the storytelling. Johnny also won a prize for this poster showcasing the work at the Honours poster day.
Visual Development – from sketch to final images
The poster explains the process Johnny followed to create the final motion graphic.
Sensory Soundscapes was created by Ellen Scott for her honours project and focussed on visualisation techniques within virtual reality (VR) experiences. The project offers a unique, interactive and fully multisensory experience that transports participants through three musical environments. Each environment explores a different musical genre and music visualisation technique that users experience in VR via the Oculus Quest 2 headset. The clip above shows a walkthrough of the project, while the images below show some of the interiors created in Unreal Engine.
Different environments were created to represent the different soundscapes
3 different bar interiors were created – this one shows the Jazz bar
The Tiki bar
Ellen’s poster explains the process followed to create the project.
BeWell is a mental well-being support and social app aimed at students. Jonathan followed a User centred process, involving his target users throughout to ensure that the solution met their needs. As well as a high-fidelity prototype suitable for user testing he created detailed brand guidelines and a design system to ensure consistency.
Sarah’s honours project built on an idea she had originally had during a year 3 module, to create a wellbeing app. During the honours project she took the idea in a new direction, creating a Virtual Reality experience. “Fufilment” is a relaxing space that users can investigate while undertaking mindfulness activities such as icing cakes and swimming. Inspired by Studio Ghibli environments and colour palette, the space has an eclectic feel, which is further enhanced by clever lighting and sound design (and a few pet cats).
Sarah tested her project with users, who praised the look and feel of the project, giving her useful feedback to make navigating the space straightforward, as well as ideas for activities that could be developed in the future.
For the honours project Ray investigated different free and low cost animation software, before creating an animatic; proving that you don’t need to spend a lot to get professional results. The scene was created in 3d space using Blender, an open source software, with the 2d character drawings slotted in between the 3d models. This allowed Ray to manipulate what the viewer would see in the final piece and create different camera angles and shot types.
Ray has already had some success with the project, winning “Best Poster” at the honours project showcase.
Today we are celebrating the work of Ploy Bunluesilp, one of our recent graduates from Digital Media and Interaction Design. For one of her year 4 project’s Ploy created a virtual reality project to help refugees settle in the UK. She has written the article below to explain a little more about the project and how she is continuing to develop it after graduation.
“I wish I had this VR to help me when I first arrived in UK,” said one of the refugee users after trying the VR project that designed to help refugees and asylum seekers to settle in their new country by using virtual reality (VR).
The project was designed for the Visual Effects Storytelling module that using virtual reality, Unreal Engine (UE) and photogrammetry to see the potential of the technology on how it could help to create realistic world, storytelling and educate the users in enjoyable way.
Figure 1: The picture frame was created by photogrammetry.
The users can interact and listen to a story that introduces the characters and teaches the user how to register at a GP surgery and learn all the necessary information that will help them to prepare to start a new life in the UK.
Figure 2: The user has to follow the numerical order of handprints to hear the story.
Figure 3: User is putting the book away.
In this project, the users play part of Amal who was a refugee that just arrived in the country and was put in the temporary council flat where she felt lonely and had no friends. Then her new magical friend Hope appeared to guide her through how to integrate with the new culture and what she needed to do to launch her new life.
Figure 4: When Hope appeared, the room went from being grey to being brighter.
The project was formulated based on interviews with few refugees from Syria, Iraq and Thailand as well as secondary research which applied the technique from the Design Thinking module to understand the journey of refuges and their problems.
After understanding their problems, the first prototype was designed using the narrative of own innovative story based on the primary and secondary research.
The users had to follow the numbered handprints and instructions from the voice over to navigate the space and to learn the story of Amal with the help of Hope to connect with the world. When Hope appeared to the room, the room was turned from dull to brighter room. The users had to pick up all the necessary document and register them at the GP. The goal is to give them hope and reassurance and enable them to navigate their new life.
Figure 5: User picked up the document that needed to submit to GP.
Figure 6: Interior of the room
Figure 7: Exterior of the Medical Centre
Figure 8: The user was using teleportation mechanism to travel the world
The first prototype was tested by the users and received well feedback that could see the potential that it would help the refugees and asylum seekers to feel more confidence. This VR education training allowed them to learn by doing, make mistake and gave them more chances to learn what the right way to do it.
“There is always stress when you forget something… But a great aspect is to have this safe space to explore and get more comfortable with the situation you’ll have to go through in real life,” said another refugee user.
After the first prototype has been tested, the second version was created to improve on different aspects to make the project looks and feel more immersive.
In the future, more episodes would be created to help the refugees to be familiar with different scenarios.
Figure 9: The computer screen showing different scenario that plan to create in the future.
On November 22, 2022, the project was shown at the Wealth of Nations Conference in Glasgow where businesses, community organisations and civic society in Scotland are supporting a Wellbeing Economy. Some of the Refugee charities that attended the conference have been showing their interests on the project and would like it to be used to the refugees that just registered with them. The project will be continued developing as it has potential to make the world a better place.
Many thanks to Ploy for sharing her project . The Visual Effects Storytelling Module is run by John Morrison and Dr. John McGowan.
They are given a challenge each week to create a response to a “Playful Provocation” using the Arduinos and the skills they are learning – can’t wait to see how they incorporate these into their final projects!
Thanks to Suzi Cathro and the student on the year 2 Playful Interaction module for sharing this work.
We are excited to share with you “New signs for animation” a short animated film, created to raise awareness of the issue surrounding the availability of Animation/Games terminology for sign language users – both locally and abroad. The team, led by lecturer Jon Mortimer, consisted of two recent ENU graduates and four deaf artists, and was supported with funding from ENU’s Public engagement fund. It helps to highlight the struggle students from the deaf community encounter trying to pursue a career in the animation or games sectors, due to a gap in available language.
“New signs for animation”, has recently been nominated for awards and continues to be considered for film festivals around the world:
We are constantly amazed by what our students achieve with digital technology! They learn to combine creative ideas and technical skills; working on projects that always put people at the centre– whether that is making a new virtual reality experience, designing sound for a game or making sure a new app works well and looks great. In fact, we use computers as tools on so many different kinds of projects it’s impossible to list them all!
We offer a range of undergraduate programmes including Digital Media and Interaction Design, Sound Design, Web Design and Development, Informatics for Business and User Experience Design.